Action News 5 Investigates: Carry-on Crooks - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Jason Miles

Action News 5 Investigates: Carry-on Crooks

Travelers are being robbed in a place they usually think of as safe: TSA security checkpoints at major airports.

Kevin McCarthey, the TSA's Federal Security Director in Memphis, says travelers should always be on the lookout.

"People should be prepared before they come out to the checkpoint - before they get to the airport," McCarthey said. "Try and consolidate all of your belongings, all of your pilferable items. If you have any computers or blackberries or video games, try to put those in a single carry-on."

TSA screeners are not there to watch what comes out of screening machines, and to make matters worse, some airports see as many as 2 million passengers a day.  But, McCarthey said, the problem has not struck Memphis.

"We do not have any problems with theft here at Memphis International Airport," he said.

At the busiest air cargo airport in the world, TSA officials say, your security is security under control.

"It's not just the checkpoint, it's the people out in front of the checkpoint," McCarthey said. "We have camera systems.  We have people around the airport - behavior detection officers - looking for things that don't look quite right."

MEM also has a special closed circuit television security system located at key points in the airport watching every move of every passenger.

"When things happen we watch those," McCarthey said. "We have a capability of playing that back, and we use those as another tool in our layered approach to security."

Wherever you travel, security officials offer this advice:  Bookend your items, with shoes on one side, a coat with your valuables inside, and your carry-on behind.  Most importantly, make sure you take everything with you as you walk away from a checkpoint.

"The more organized you can be, the better," McCarthey said.

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